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Leading Change with the Heart

Exploring the Relationship between Emotional Intelligence and Transformational Leadership in the Era of Covid-19 Pandemic Challenges

Carlton Brown , Uzoechi Nwagbara *

1 Management Consultant, Associate Lecturer, London School of Business & Finance, 2 Bunhill Row, London, EC1Y 8HQ, United Kingdom

2 Associate Lecturer, University of Sunderland in London, 197 Marsh Wall, Isle of Dogs, London, E14 9SG, United Kingdom; Professor of management, ICT University, Messassi, Zoatupsi, Yaoundé, Cameroon e-mail:


In recent decades, effective leadership theorising, perceptions and studies have shifted attention to interpersonal skills and the leader’s capacity to inspire, encourage and motivate subordinates as well as create and maintain a sense of positive contribution to the whole of the organisation. This conceptualisation is in sharp contrast to prior studies and conceptualisations resonating with controlling, planning and target-oriented leadership. Consequently, this article takes as its premise the relationship between emotional intelligence (leading with the heart) and transformational leadership within the purview of COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic challenges. It is thus argued here that in times of crisis that humanity (and the organisation specifically) is faced with at the moment unleashed by COVID-19 pandemic challenges, a style of leadership that takes as its focal point emotional intelligence mediated by transformational leadership can be instrumental in leading business organisation through this epoch. The methodology used here is steeped in cursory look at prior, relevant literature on these phenomena and how it helps to inform a conceptual framework that could help in shedding new light on how to confront the challenges of Covid-19 through effective leadership. This paper concludes that in times of crisis – particularly the one ushered in by Covid-19 – a medley of emotional intelligence and transformational leadership is necessary to drive effective change for organisation, which would help them to bounce back and operate profitably and sustainably.

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